Friday, September 18, 2009

L’shanah tovah

Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year (literally “head of the year”), is a Biblical holiday that occurs on the first and second of Tishri (September or October). Rosh Hashanah is the day that God created man. Rosh Hashanah is a time to begin introspection, looking back at the mistakes of the past year and planning the changes to make in the new year.
The Bible refers to the holiday as Yom Ha-Zikkaron (the day of remembrance) or Yom Teruah (the day of the sounding of the shofar). The holiday is instituted in Leviticus 23:24-25. No work is permitted on Rosh Hashanah. Much of the day is spent in synagogue. where the regular daily prayers are expanded. There is a special prayer book called the Machzor used for Rosh Hashanah. Religious services for the holiday focus on the concept of God’s sovereignty.
Another popular observance during this holiday is eating apples dipped in honey, a symbol of our wish for a sweet new year. Another popular practice of the holiday is Tashlikh (”casting off”). We walk to flowing water, such as a creek or river, on the afternoon of the first day and empty our pockets into the river (generally this means casting bread into the water), symbolically casting off our sins.
The common greeting at this time is L’shanah tovah (”for a good year”). This is a shortening of “L’shanah tovah tikatev v’taihatem” (or to women, “L’shanah tovah tikatevi v’taihatemi”), which means “May you be inscribed and sealed for a good year.”

Candles are lit and blessings are said on the first night and the second night in order to help usher in the Holy Day. Kiddush (blessing over wine/grape juice) is said as well as the blessing over the challah (braided bread). Slices of the challah and apple slices are dipped in honey, representing sweetness and hope for the new year.

Wanted to also share a wonderful recipe that is appropriate for the day.

Spiced String Beans

3 pounds fresh string beans
2 tsps. Salt
¼ cup oil
¼ tsp. turmeric
½ tsp. cumin
¼ cup water

Wash and trim beans. Put all ingredients into a 3-quart saucepan and mix well. Cook, covered on a small flame for 30 minutes. Serve warm or cold.

NOTE: do not substitute or omit spices.

USE: 3-quart saucepan
YIELDS: 8 to 10 servings

My offerings today for music are drawn from the Jewish culture. I hope they will be appropriate.

Jerushalayim Shel Zahav:

Haveinu Shalom Aleichem:

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